Do you Know your Rights?
People call me about a criminal case and state “Police didn’t read me my Rights”, thinking that means their case will be thrown out. Unfortunately most people do not know that the police only have to warn you of your right to remain silent and that you can have a lawyer, if the interview is after you have been arrested or where you feel that you are in custody. And if the police fail to do that, it only means that your statement can be thrown out of court. That does not mean the case against you will be dismissed.
What are the rights a person has that has been accused of a crime?
a. Right to remain silent
b. Right to have an attorney present when interviewed by the police while in custody.
c. Right to for their house, car or personal property searched without a warrant or pressing circumstances outline in the law.
d. Right not to be searched other than for weapons for the safety of the officer
e. Right for their phone and other electronic devices not to be searched without a warrant.
f. Right to not disclose their passwords and usernames to the police without a warrant.
The law is still developing regarding the expectation of privacy in the online world. The police should be required to get a warrant to get your emails, online activity, and search history from internet providers and companies, but that does not always happen.
We will address the law as it develops in the area of a person’s rights in the regards to their interaction with the police.
Know your rights, but most importantly EXERCISE THOSE RIGHTS. Say to the officer I am not answering your questions without an attorney present, you cannot search my property without my attorney present. Always be polite and respectful, but firm.
The back of my card that I hand out to my clients states “My attorney has told me not to talk to anyone about my case, to not answer any questions, and to not reply to accusations. Call my attorney if you want to ask me questions, search me or my property, do any test, do any lineups, or any other I.D. procedures. I do not agree to any of these things without my attorney present and do not waive any of my Constitutional Rights.” I ask my clients to keep that card in their wallet and to pull it out when questioned by the police and hand it to the police officer. Exercise your rights.
Know and Exercise your rights.